Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Arabian Lamb Cakes - Maqlūa al-shiwā

I was recently able to do some demonstration cooking and this is a recipe I picked out as part of my repertoire.  However I never got around to it!  The ingredients all came home with me and I decided to make it for this blog.

It is originally out of one of my favorite books, Pleyn Delit, which makes it medieval.

ISBN 0-8020-7632-7
There was a lot of Arabic influence in the foods of this time.  The lamb cakes stand out as Arabic primarily because of the use of lamb, mint, nuts, and the spices combination.  This is recipe #5 in the book.

Arabian Lamb Cakes - Maqlūa al-shiwā

Original recipe

Take cold roast, and cut up fine with a knife, adding the usual seasonings, together with walnuts:  then proceed as for maqlūba, with eggs.  If desired sour, sprinkled with a little lemon juice.


Redacted version

1 1/2 cup pieces of cold roast lamb
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp each ground cumin, cinnamon, pepper
2 tsp chopped fresh mint
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
olive oil for frying
juice of 1/2 lemon



Mix ingredients (not oil or lemon) and form small cakes.  Fry in oil, turning over once.  Sprinkle with lemon juice before serving hot.


My Notes

My lamb was purchased ground.  I cooked and drained it before using it (it was cold when I packed it to take to the demonstration).

I chopped the walnuts well, so no one would get a big chunk of nut in their lamb cake bite.

An original sized piece included for comparison.

First I mixed the meat, nuts, and all the seasonings together well.  Then I beat the egg before adding it to the mixture.

Pre-egg

Post-egg.  It looks moister.

I preheated the pan and the oil.  The first spoonful of the mixture was squeezed in my hand and set into the pan.  It immediately crumbled!

Definitely not a cake.

I decided the mixture was too dry so I added another beaten egg.  Now it looked very moist.

Downright soggy now.  The particles cling better, too.

I tried making the little cake shapes again.  I was very gentle in squeezing the mixture, in placing the cakes on the pan, and in turning them over once.

Cooking on the first side.

Cooking after turning.

Despite all that gentleness, nearly half of the cakes crumbled before being put on the serving platter.  Very disappointing!

I piled the whole cakes mostly on one side of the platter and the broken bits on the other.  Everything got a sprinkling of lemon juice.  I garnished the dish with two more pieces of lemon and a sprig of mint.



The Verdict

I served them with the Sweet-and-Sour Olives and some tortilla chips for crunch.

The chips were shy and avoided the photograph.
The lamb cakes that were whole were easy to pick up and eat but you realized quickly that they had to be handled gently or they would break apart.

The flavor was good:  mostly the lamb came through and the spices were very subtle.  I wanted more of a kick from the mint.  The nuts seemed slightly toasted from the cooking, which I liked.  The cakes weren't oily, which I appreciated.  The lemon juice is a necessary ingredient to add some sparkle to a somewhat bland dish.

So success on the flavor, although I wanted more of a dance on my taste buds.

As a finger food, it was a failure.  The cakes weren't robust enough to be finger food at all.  I ended up eating most of the cooked meat mixture with a spoon.

I suspect that the addition of some dried bread crumbs would help with that.  Perhaps if I make it another time, especially as a demonstration recipe, I would add some.

Side note:  the liquid that the olives came in was also very good on the lamb cakes!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Four Sauces for a Chicken -- Sauces #3 & 4: Green Sauce

I had decided to make four sauces to serve with the roasted chicken I had purchased.  The first was a Roman Empire era sauce called "Sauce for Cooked Meat" and the second was "Cameline Sauce", a medieval era recipe that was dominant with wine and cinnamon.

Today's recipe is also medieval and from that same lovely book Pleyn Delit, by Hieatt, Hosington, and Butler.

ISBN 0-8020-7632-7
It is recipe #50, "Verde Sawse."  The authors comment:
Green sauce is the most common medieval (and later) accompaniment to fish.  The recipes vary from very simple (parsley, ground with vinegar, bread, and salt) to infinite variations:  besides the ingredients named here, some call for other greens such as sorrel, pungent roots such as pellitory, and additional spices (eg, cloves).  The Forme of Cury manuscripts themselves show various additions and subtractions:  feel free to vary the recipe according to taste and/or availability of ingredients.
The authors' redaction calls for a choice of the second herb after parsley so I decided to make two versions of the green sauce, one with sage and one with mint, for comparison.

Recall that that the original recipe is given first, then the redaction follows.

Verde Sawse

Take persel, mynt, garlek, a litul serpell and sawge; a litul canel, gynger, piper, wyne, brede, vyneger & salt; grynde it smal with safroun, & messe it forth.

Green Sauce

2-3 tbsp fresh, finely minced parsley
2 tsp each fresh, finely minced thyme, sage, or savory
1/8 tsp each ground ginger, pepper
1/4 cup fine breadcrumbs or two slices diced dry bread (crusts removed)
1 tbsp each vinegar (preferably white wine vinegar), white wine
1/2 tsp salt
optional:  1 tsp each fresh rosemary and mint, finely minced; 1 clove garlic, peeled, crushed, and minced; pinch each of cinnamon, cloves, saffron; 1 - 2 tsp horseradish (as substitute for roots such as pellatory).


You can see the mint and the sage here.
Blend the ingredients in a blender or mortar; if necessary, add more wine and/or vinegar to thin the sauce to a consistency something like mayonnaise.  Serve with poached, grilled, or sauteed fish, or with frogs' legs or goose.  The parsley sauce Chaucer's Cook served with "stubbel goos" was probably green sauce, including garlic, and this is what Platina recommends as a sauce for sauteed frogs' legs.

My Notes

I used dry bread crumbs, white wine vinegar, white wine, ginger, salt, and pepper along with the parsley.  For sauce #3 I used sage and for sauce #4 I used mint.

I put the ingredients for the sage sauce into the blender but the crumbs soaked up all the liquid immediately and there was nothing the blender blades could do to mix it.  

Sage version:  Too dry!
So I scraped it out into a bowl, added some more wine and vinegar (roughly equal parts) and blended it with a pestle.  It helped that the herbs were already finely minced because all I was doing was reducing the crumbs even more, mixing the ingredients, and adding more liquid as needed until I got the right consistency.

Sage version:  Much better!
At this point I had learned my lesson and put the ingredients for the mint sauce right into the bowl to blend with the mortar.  Again I had to add more liquid to get it right.

Mint version
Both sauces were made several hours before dinner time and had time to sit before serving.  They both made about 1/2 cup of sauce.

The Verdict

The plan was to serve the sauces with sliced pieces of chicken so that each diner could dip the meat into the sauce.  I put the sauces on plates so that two diners shared one set of plates.

Sage sauce is 3rd from the left.  Mint sauce is 4th.
These sauces were more pliable than the Roman and cameline sauces but still too stiff to easily dip a piece of chicken into.  Again, I should have tested them before serving to double check and add more liquid as needed.  Next time I won't be so easily fooled!

We ended up spooning the sauces onto our plates and spreading them onto the chicken before eating.


How did they taste?

Sauce #3, the sage green sauce, had sage leaves fresh from my garden.  I put in 2 teaspoons of finely minced leaves.  No one could really taste any sage flavor, although it did not taste just like parsley to me.  I am not sure if the sage melded beautifully with the parsley or just faded away.

It was smooth and lightly flavored.  No flavor was dominant.  Not exciting or memorable.  Just a mellow moistness to my mouth.  It was a good sauce but not anyone's favorite.   I think I would have liked more vinegar in it just to give it a sharp kick.

So success but not with any enthusiasm.

Sauce #4, the mint green sauce, also with leaves fresh from my garden, was very nice.  The mint flavor was light enough not to blast my taste buds but strong enough to tantalize.  I liked the balance of wine and wine vinegar -- no more acid was needed or it would have battled with the mint.  Tasty, indeed!  Success!

In both cases, I think I should have used fewer crumbs or more liquid.  I should have made them very wet knowing they would sit before serving and have time to thicken up again.

I would call the dinner a success, too.  My guests enjoyed trying the four sauces.  We all considered the blend of flavors, picked out our favorites when possible, and exchanged ideas on improving them later.  We shared a good meal and fun conversation.  I was glad to have them and experience my blog experiment!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Four Sauces for a Chicken -- Sauce #2: Cameline Sauce

I had decided to make four sauces to serve with the roasted chicken I had purchased.  The first sauce was a Roman Empire era sauce called "Sauce for Cooked Meat."

Today's post is about the second sauce, a classic medieval recipe from one of my favorite books, Pleyn Delit, by Hieatt, Hosington, and Butler.

ISBN 0-8020-7632-7
Recipe 48 is Sawse Camelyne, about which the authors say,
Cameline sauce is one of the most ancient and ubiquitous sauces of the Western Middle Ages.  It is difficult to define it, except that is contains, perhaps 99 per cent of the time, cinnamon.  Thus, any version that does not contain cinnamon may be suspected of being the result of careless copying ... We particularly like the version with currants and nuts as an accompaniment to roast lamb, but medieval people liked almost any version of this sauce with most meats:  eg, veal, pork, rabbit.  Currants and nuts are unusual options and may be omitted; with or without them, consider this as an appropriate sauce if you want to do something particularly festive, like a roast suckling pig.
I thought this sauce was very appropriate for my company because they are wine aficionados and this recipe gives wine as an optional ingredient.

One aspect of this book I love is that the authors give the original recipe along with their modern redaction.

Sawse Cameline

Take raysouns of courance & kyrnels of notys & crustes of brede & powdour of gynger, clowes, flour of canel; bray it wel togyder and do therto salt.  Temper it up with vyneger, and serve it forth.

Cameline Sauce

2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1/3 cup vinegar, or 1/2 cup red wine
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 - 1 tsp ground cinnamon
optional:  1/4 cup each currants and walnuts; 1/2 tsp nutmeg and/or 1/4 tsp cloves


I chose the wine, nuts, and currants version
Blend ingredients, preferably in a blender.  May be served without cooking, but if you use wine rather than vinegar it should be simmered for a few minutes.


My Notes

My breadcrumbs were dry.  I chose a good quality Cabernet Sauvignon, and I had no walnuts so I used almonds.  I used a little less than 1/2 tsp of salt and a full teaspoon of cinnamon.

I put all the ingredients in the blender and ran it until the mixture became finely textured but very thick.  It was not going to pour out of the container!  So I added a little more wine and blended it until it was soft enough to pour.

Since I was using wine, I took the authors' advice and simmered the mixture for a few minutes.

Fresh out of the blender
The sauce was still very thick.  The heat on the pan was kept very low and I stirred the mixture often to keep it from sticking and scorching.

Then I poured it into a bowl to cool.  It was still very thick so I stirred in a bit more wine to thin it.

It made a bit more than 1/2 cup.

The Verdict

I served the four sauces on plates.  Each set of plates served two people.

Cameline sauce is the second from the left
You can see how thick the sauce was.  I had it at about "mayonnaise" consistency when I was through making it but the sauce sat around for a few hours before serving and it thickened up again.  I should have thinned it again with more wine.

The idea was to dip pieces of chicken into the sauce before eating but the sauce was so thick that we all ended up spooning the sauce onto our plates and spreading it on the meat.


How did it taste?

My wine aficionados declared it to have a "complex" flavor.  The wine, the spices, the fruit and nuts all contributed to what was recognized as a medieval dish.  To me it was a strong wine flavor (but moderated off the "out of the bottle" wine flavor -- I suppose because of the simmering) with a medium strong spice dance-on-my-tongue.  It was only slightly sweet and slightly rich.

I liked it on the chicken and so did all my guest tasters.  I would not want to eat it by itself as I did the Roman sauce.  It was my second favorite sauce although one of the guests declared it to be his first favorite.

When I was making this sauce I was tempted to put in a little red wine vinegar just to get an acidic tangy sensation but I decided to let the wine do that by itself.  I am glad I left it as it was.  There was some acidity from the wine and that was enough.

It occurred to me that the ground almonds may have contributed to the moderated wine flavor.  Since they were simmered in liquid, they may have formed some almond milk, which is creamy.

I declare it a success and would gladly make it again.  Perhaps I would use fewer bread crumbs or more wine to make it thinner and more "dip-able."  And I would check it just before serving to make sure it was still thin enough to serve.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Four Sauces for a Chicken -- Sauce #1: Roman Empire!

I had company coming, someone who has been experimented on before at my table, so I felt like trying something fun.  I decided to buy two roasted chickens and make sauces to be served with them.

But what sauces?  There are so many from a variety of cultures and eras.  Well, since my love for Roman Empire food is growing, I decided to try one that appeared to be a challenge to prepare.

This recipe comes from Cooking Apicius, by Sally Grainger.  I love this book and have used it several times before for this blog.  (Do a label search on "Roman Empire."  You will find them!)

ISBN 1-903018-44-7

This recipe is on page 60 and has the undistinguished title of

Sauce for Cooked Meat

Ms. Grainger explains that a person of the time would be eating while reclining on one side, using one hand to bring the food up to the mouth.  When at first she tried this sauce, she interpreted it in a modern fashion, making it "thin, hot, plentiful and pourable" and found it disappointing.  But "When I considered them more as a pickle or dipping sauce, the likely use of these sauces became clear."  In other words, the sauce needed to stick to the meat to avoid it dripping onto the diner.

The challenge, in my view, was to make this sauce and closely follow the complicated-looking directions.  Here goes!

1 heaping tsp cumin seeds
1 level tsp myrtle berries *  (see note below)
generous freshly ground black pepper
2 heaped tsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 small leek with the dark green removed
2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
2 dessert spoons honey
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fish sauce


Ignore the dry parsley.  It butted its way into the picture unannounced.
Roast and grind the cumin and myrtle, mix with the pepper and combine with the parsley.  Chop the leek and cook in a little water.  Strain and place in a food processor or large mortar and grind or process into a paste.  Add the cooked eggs and process or grind again.  Add the spice and herb mixture, honey, vinegar, oil and fish sauce and blend by pulsing a few times.  Tip into a bowl and store until required.  Only store in the fridge if you are preparing or storing left-over sauce overnight.  Preparing it the day before does improve the flavour but bring back to room temperature before serving.

My Notes

*Special note:  I do not have any myrtle berries.  Apparently I could grow them but not in time for today's cooking spree.  To find a substitute I turned to The Epicenter which had a description:
Myrtle seeds are purple-black berries that are used whole or coarsely ground.  Its leaf is used whole or chopped.  Myrtle berries are sweet, with juniper and rosemary-like flavors.  The leaves have spice, astringent, and bitter taste [sic] with a refreshing, fragrant, and orangelike aroma.
Ah ha!  I decided to substitute in juniper berries, which I toasted, and then added a pinch of dried rosemary before grinding.

I toasted the juniper separately from the cumin seeds but combined them in the mortar.  I wasn't sure how long to toast the juniper but I stopped when I sniffed the berries and got a lovely resiny scent.

Toasted.

Ground (includes the rosemary).
I used about 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper.

Honest, that was the smallest leek I could find in the store!  I used this much of it:

I used one of those big white pieces.
To cook the leeks, I put them in a pan with enough water to cover.  They simmered for a short while -- I stopped cooking them when most of the pieces were transparent.

In the beginning.
Processing that small amount of cooked leeks in my food processor was probably the most challenging part of making this sauce.  I had to stop it many times to scrape the leeks down off the walls.  But with persistence, I got it to nearly a paste consistency.

Adding the eggs helped even more.


I chose to use red wine vinegar for this recipe.

The instructions say to just pulse the mixture a few times after adding the herbs and spices and liquids, so I did.  But I wasn't convinced it was that well mixed.  So I stirred it after it went into the bowl.


It made about 3/4 of a cup.
The Verdict

I served it with thin slices of chicken for dipping.  We also had some fresh bread and a simple green salad.

Both light and dark meat.
I put all the sauces on plates.  There was one set of plates to be shared between every two people.

Roman sauce on the far left.  And this gives you a preview of the other sauces!
The idea was to dip your meat into the sauce and eat it but there was a problem.  The sauce was too thick to allow for easy dipping!  We ended up spooning some onto our plates and then spreading the sauce onto each piece.

You can see how firm the sauce is.
So how did it taste?

It was very intriguing.  Creamy, lightly spiced, slightly sweet, a little rich with a good mouthfeel.  It was hard to taste individual flavors but the blend was lovely.  The more I eat food with cumin, the more I love it and this sauce was no exception.  Success!

My guest tasters all enjoyed it.  Most of us agreed it was the best sauce of the four.  I certainly did.

I think the thickness was just right once I took it all out of the food processor, however the sauce sat for several hours before dinner and I think it thickened up.  If this happens again, I would double check the consistency just before serving and thin it with a little vinegar as needed.

As for the preparation challenge, I was pleasantly surprised to find it easy to make.  I thought the toasting, grinding, cooking, processing steps would be difficult but they weren't.  It is a definite do-again recipe.

I think I could just eat this sauce with a spoon.  Yes, it is that good.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Maiale Arrostito Nel Latte -- Pork Roasted in Milk (part 2)

Yesterday I posted the Artusi version of Pork Roasted in Milk.  Today I am posting the translator's variation as Part 2.

The book is Pellegrino Artusi's The Art of Eating Well.  Yesterday's post describes the book and its history and impact on Italy's culture.  Read it!  Amazing!

ISBN 0-679-43056-3
The variation, on page 318:

Maiale Arrostito Nel Latte -- Pork Roasted in Milk (part 2)

Cut the zest from a lemon, in thin strips, and sliver 2 cloves of garlic.  Stick the pork with the lemon and garlic, tie it with string, and rub it with salt and pepper.  Brown it in 2 tablespoons of oil, turning it frequently, and then add the milk.  Reduce the heat and simmer the meat until done, turning occasionally, and stirring the curds that will form to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Continue cooking until the milk has almost completely evaporated, about 45 minutes, then remove the roast and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Slice it thin, spoon the curds over the slices, and serve.

My Notes

I did not have any fresh lemon or garlic in my kitchen at the time (how embarrassing!).  But I did have a store-bought mixture of lemon peel, dried garlic, salt, and pepper.  I rubbed the outside of the pork loin with a generous amount of it.  The meat weighed about 1 1/2 pounds.

I browned the meat in a cast iron skillet in about 2 tablespoons of oil, turning it to brown it all over the wide sides.  Then I added about 2 cups of whole milk.

This recipe does not call for the meat and milk mixture to be covered, which is why I decided to cook it in the skillet.

Right after the milk was added.
I raised the heat to bring the milk to a boil then reduced it to make the milk simmer.  It was a challenge to turn the meat because it was so easy to splash the liquid out of the pan (yes, it happened!).  After about 45 minutes, I saw mostly curds in the simmering milk.

Just before removing the meat.
The meat sat, covered, while I simmered the liquid for a little while longer to reduce it.  The curds became dominant and beautifully light brown.

Curds and liquid.
When I sliced the pork, I discovered that it was not completely cooked inside.  I took what I could off the ends and served it with some of the curds and liquid spooned over the top.
With a parsley garnish, of course!

The Verdict

The meat was moist.  The lemon and garlic flavors came through lightly and created a gentle blast on the taste buds.  The curd sauce had a meaty flavor.  It was great!  My guest tasters and I agreed it was a better experience than the Artusi recipe.  Don't get me wrong:  we liked Artusi's version.  But this was definitely the better of the two.  Success!

We ate what was available and enjoyed every bite.  I took the part that wasn't cooked thoroughly and put it back in the liquid.  It simmered while we ate dinner.  That cooked it and it wasn't dry.

Both versions made excellent leftovers, too.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Maiale Arrostito Nel Latte -- Pork Roasted in Milk (part 1)

I had a lovely pork loin that was crying out for some fun way to prepare it.  Of course I turned to Artusi!

ISBN 0-679-43056-3
The book is The Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi, who lived from 1820 to 1911, translated by Kyle M. Phillips, III.  It is considered "Italy's Most Treasured Cookbook" and here is why:
Before Marcella Hazan, Guiliano Bugialli, or Ada Boni, there was Pellegrino Artusi.  A prosperous Florentine silk merchant, Artusi was also a passionate gastronome, and over his long life collected a large number of recipes for the foods he loved to eat and serve to his many guests.  In 1891, he collected them into a cookbook, La Scienza in Cucina e l'Arte di Mangiar Bene ("The Science of Cookery and the Art of Eating Well"), for which he could not find a publisher.  So he published the book himself.
Over a hundred years later, Artusi's book is still selling in every bookstore in Italy.  It has gone through 111 printings, and a copy can be found in almost every Italian home. ...
But The Art of Eating Well is not just a cookbook.  Artusi was also a bon vivant, a noted raconteur, and a celebrated host, who knew many of the leading figures of his day and read widely in the arts and sciences.  His book is an extensive compendium of recipes, but also provided Artusi with ample opportunity to share his knowledge of the natural world, snippets of philosophy, dietary advice, and the occasional earthy anecdote.  Artusi is also loved by Italians for his wit and his way with words; his book is one to read as well as cook from. 
(Quoted from book cover flaps.)

But the enthusiasm for his work doesn't stop there.  Here is a passage from the Introduction, by the translator:
In 1982 I bought a copy ... from a used-book seller who also carried a few new books on the side.  My copy was new.  I didn't want a new copy, but when I asked him if he had any used ones, he shook his head and replied that mothers passed their copies on to their daughters.  He'd sold only three used copies of Artusi, as the book is called, in thirty years.  I thought about that on the way home, and when I opened the book, began to see why.
 ... Pellegrino Artusi read widely, corresponded with the intellectuals of his day, and had something to say about just about everything. ... While today his comments are merely interesting, at the turn of the century they undoubtedly provided the first glimpses of the outside world to many of his readers who lived in small towns and had neither the means nor the opportunity to travel.
Over the years, Artusi's influence on Italian cuisine, and, for that matter, on the Italian language, has been profound.  When he published the book in 1891, only a small fraction of the Italian population even spoke Italian, and almost all lived in abject poverty, a poverty known simply as miseria.  If the average Italian even managed to stay his hunger, much less eat meat once a week, he considered himself lucky.
There was, however, a new star emerging:  the middle class.  These were households prosperous enough to eat meat regularly, if not daily, and to enjoy a varied diet, but not wealthy enough to afford the armies of servants employed by the aristocracy. ...  They greeted Pellegrino Artusi's book with joy for two reasons:  The recipes are tasty but not extravagant, and the book is written in clear, straightforward Italian.  ... France was the cultural and culinary hub of Europe, and the Italian aristocracy ate French cuisine. ... 
Consequently, in Artusi's day, most Italian chefs were French trained, and the cookbooks they wrote were so heavily laden with French culinary terminology that they were difficult to follow.
I could keep going with the list of contributions attributed to Artusi's book, but I suggest you get a copy and read the entire introduction yourself.  You will learn about his early life, the challenges his family faced, and of his success as "a shrewd and gifted investor."

Here is the last paragraph in the Introduction:
Pellegrino Artusi set out to write a cookbook and instead helped to establish a national cuisine and unify an incredibly diverse country.  At the end of his recipe for gnocchi alla Romana he says, "I hope you will like these as much as my guests have.  If you do, toast me if I'm alive, or say a Rest in Peace if I've gone to push up cabbages."  He deserves many of both.
So let's give one of his recipes a try!  I chose

Maiale Arrostito Nel Latte -- Pork Roasted in Milk    (page 318)

Take a piece of pork loin that weighs about 1 1/4 pounds, salt it, and set it in a pot with 1 1/8 cups of milk.  Cover it and simmer it until the milk has almost completely evaporated, about 45 minutes.  Increase the fire to brown it, stirring constantly, lest the curds stick and burn.  Once it is browned, remove the meat, drain away the excess fat, and add a few more drops of milk to the curds in the pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil, and use it brush slices of toasted bread, which you will serve with the meat.

In all, 1 1/2 cups of milk will suffice.  Pork cooked this way is delicate and is not filling.


Special Note:

After Artusi's recipe, the translator has included a variation.  Since my pork loin weighed over 3 pounds, I cut it in two and tried both recipes.  The variation will be posted tomorrow as part 2.

Pork, milk, and salt.  That's all, folks!
My Notes

The piece of loin I used for this version weighed about 1 3/4 pounds, so I adjusted the milk amount to almost 1 3/4 cups.  I used whole milk.

I used about 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  I think it would be acceptable to use more.

The pork (fat side down) and milk went into a large kettle so it would fit and I could cover it.  Notice that the milk does not cover the meat at all.

After it was all in the kettle, I brought the milk to a boil.  Then I reduced the heat to a simmer and covered the kettle.  The timer was set to 45 minutes but at about 22 minutes I peeked in and decided to turn the meat.

The meat is turned.  Notice the initial curd formation on the sides of the pot.
At the end of the 45 minutes, this is what it looked like.

More curds!





















The milk still had some evaporating to do so I left the lid off and raised the heat a little.  I stirred it almost constantly, working around the meat, until most of the moisture was gone and the curds were numerous.

This looks right!
Then I removed the meat and added about 1/2 cup of milk to the curds.  I brought it to a boil.  It did thicken just a little bit.  I did not pour off any excess fat because it didn't look like any was there.  

Notice the curds and liquid are a light brown in color.
I sliced the pork as thinly as I could.  The curd mixture was spread on dark rye toast, as instructed.

As served, with a little parsley garnish.

The Verdict

I ate the meat and the toast separately, which was acceptable.  The pork itself was a little dry but had a nice, delicate pork flavor.  Not salty at all.  I blame the dryness on me; I think it was the extra cooking with the lid off.  If I did this again, I would remove the meat before reducing the liquid.

The toast with the curds was excellent.  I worried that the curds wouldn't have much flavor but they did!  I didn't get any milk or dairy sensation from them but they had absorbed the salt and nice, meaty pork flavors.  The curds were on the surface of the toast and the liquid had soaked into it.  I would have been happy just eating that.

Artusi's version is the pork slice next to the bread.  I served it with a fruit salad.
So this gave me an idea.  I put the slice of pork on the bread and spooned a little of the extra curd sauce on top.  This was even better!  No more dry meat and the flavors all combined to a lovely main course.  My guest tasters agreed this was the better way to serve it.

Success!
I suspect that if the meat hadn't been dry, just serving the meat on top of the toast would have been fine.  Perhaps that is what Mr. Artusi had intended.

We all agreed it was a success!  

Rest in Peace, Pellegrino Artusi!